Photographer Christoph Martin Schmid captures the Essence of Los Angeles by creating a sense of perfection to the place which doesn’t actually exist. We’ve long suspected New Yorkers and Bay Area residents like to hate on the City of Angels because it revels in it’s own fakeness, and Christoph Martin Schmid creates an fantastic illustration of this idea.
sent by fariborzvjin:designyoutrust:diskursdisko.de
Interview: Frank Chimero
I started drawing when I was a kid and never stopped.
Diskursdisko: Hi Frank. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start painting?
Frank Chimero: I started drawing when I was a kid and never stopped. In high school, that changed to design making concert flyers and album packaging and tshirts for friends bands. That started my affinity with design, and it hasn’t stopped since.
It’s been a natural development, really, and I’m still working on it.
Diskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art? Do you have a system or method that you adhere to?
Frank Chimero: Most of the work is digital, but they begin with lots of sketching and searching for the right idea. The main system is to come up with lots of ideas, then narrow them down to the good ones, work on the good ones and try to make them great.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Frank Chimero: Everyone gets asked this question, and most everyone has the same answer. But here’s mine: Oh, you know. Just everything in my day-to-day life and the people that surround me. The grocery store, walking down the sidewalk, the leaves on the trees, that one article I read in the New Yorker last week, that one album by that one band, and a conversation I had with a friend yesterday at that one place. Inspiration is all around me, and I try my best to be receptive to it.
Diskursdisko: Your artwork mostly has a retro vibe to it, while still feeling modern - how did you develop this style?
Frank Chimero: I worked on the style like I would a client: I thought about the objectives and then decided on what visual form would best communicate it. I wanted to be direct, clear, warm, concise and idea-driven. So that leads to the simplicity. And I’ve always been personally drawn to flat colors and work from the retro era, so I copied a bit from that. It’s been a natural development, really, and I’m still working on it.
Diskursdisko: Can you tell us some more about your ongoing project ‘ the states’ - how is it coming along?
Frank Chimero: I kind of work on it as I get the time. It has to find it’s way through the paying work, but I’d say it’s coming along very nicely. It receded into the background for several months, but I feel like I’m back at it and the recent states are some of my favorites, which is encouraging.
Diskursdisko: When working for clients like magazines or companies, how do you keep up the balance between clients’ wishes and concepts and your own need to produce art? Do you feel there actually is any difference between “commercial” artwork and other art?
Frank Chimero: You know, I haven’t really had any conflicts. One of the benefits of the magazines I work for is that they have tight turnarounds, so they don’t really have the time to be very restrictive or controlling over the work that they hire me to do. I’m not even sure that they’d want to be. I’ve been fortunate so far in that I’ve been really happy with the work I’ve produced for my clients, and I haven’t made any unnecessary compromises that hurt the end product. Is there a difference between commercial artwork and other art? Probably for other people, but for me, I think the process is very similar, because both have communication as a primary goal.
Diskursdisko: Next to your design work, you also teach at Missouri State University. Do you feel this has affected your work? Do you find inspiration for new projects whilst teaching?
Frank Chimero: Yes! My students are great. I try to keep things fresh in the classroom by giving them assignments that I’m not exactly sure how I would solve them. Things seem to go much better if we’re all learning things together. They give me an enormous amount of insight, and make me consider things in a new way. I have the habits I’ve developed, and it’s nice to have someone remind you that it doesn’t have to be that way. That difference is very inspiring.
The state of California picture was the first time I really felt like I “owned” my own work.
Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at frankchimero.com, any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?
Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?
Frank Chimero: I really love GrainEdit. It’s my favorite website on the internet. Also, my buddy Ward Jenkins runs a Flickr pool called The Retro Kid that I find myself consistently coming back to.
Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?
Frank Chimero: The Jailbirds animation video for Good Magazine is special because it’s the first time I’ve worked with animation. It gave me some important insight about the potential of narrative in my work. Also, the state California was the first time I really felt like I “owned” my own work.
I feel like I’m just getting started on this path…
Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?
Frank Chimero: I’d like to explore more with narrative and animation. But for right now, I feel like I’m just getting started on this path and I’d like to keep walking it to see how much potential it has.
Diskursdisko: Frank, many thanks for the interview.
Openness as design concept: The minimal amount of materials used, glass, steel and concrete, results in maximum openness for the façade.
The building which has just been completed with a total surface of 6000 m2 contains 46 apartments and a day-care centre. Each apartment has a balcony of varying depths which stretch as bands along the entire facade, offering varied outside spaces and views over the western docklands of Amsterdam. The floor-to-ceiling glass façade can be fully opened and contrasts with the other buildings within the so called VOC Cour port redevelopment that are mainly made of brick.
The urban plan is a closed city block with buildings of differing heights surrounding a central court. After two earlier urban plans failed, the client O.M.A. (Ontwikkelings Maatschappij Apeldoorn) has in fact determined the current urban plan. The MVRDV building is located inside the court with one façade facing the waterfront of the Westerdok. The project started in 2004 and is currently one of the nominees for the Amsterdam Architecture Award.
Zaha Hadid announced her latest design, the Stone Towers, for the expanding district of Cairo, Egypt. Within the 525,000sqm towers, Hadid’s design provides office and retail spaces, a five-star business hotel with serviced apartments, and sunken landscaped gardens and plaza called the Delta.
Further project description after the break.
“I am delighted to be working in Cairo. I have visited Egypt many times and I have always been fascinated by the mathematics and arts of the Arab world. In our office we have always researched the formal concepts of geometry - which relates a great deal to the region’s art traditions and sciences in terms of algebra, geometry and mathematics. This research has informed the design for Stone Towers,” Hadid commented.
Hadid’s towers were inspired by the ancient Egyptian stonework which incorporates a variety of patterns and textures. Working off this inspiration, the facades on the North and South elevations of each tower adopt a vocabulary of alternating protrusions, recesses and voids. Such spaces will emphasize light and shadow, which will, in turn, accentuate the curvatures of each building within the development.
“With a large-scale project such as the Stone Towers, care must be taken to balance a necessary requirement for repetitive elements whilst avoiding an uncompromising repetition of static building masses,” states Hadid. “The architecture of Stone Towers pursues a geometric rhythm of similar, interlocking, yet individually differentiated building forms that creates a cohesive composition,” Hadid added.
The towers will add much needed space to Cairo’s expanding region and will fuse smoothly into the existing urban landscape. Hisham Shoukri, CEO of Rooya Group said, “There is a overwhelming need in Egypt for developments of the highest international standards required by the serious and growing investment climate of the country - ultimately contributing to making it a hub for multinationals in the region. The Stone Towers needed an architect with daring ideas, innovation, international expertise and experience…it needed Zaha Hadid.”
mabu — is the moniker of 22 year old danish Multi-disciplinary designer Mads Burcharth. Graduated in 2008 at SDU College (former Odense Technical College), Center of Visual Communications with a major in Digital Media.
May 2009: Jeremy Geddes is based in Melbourne where he spends his time creating photo realistic paintings that portray extremes in emotion. He’s been published in several books and magazines, picking up a Spectrum Gold Award for his comic cover Doomed #4.
Hey Jeremy, tell us a little about your background, when did you start painting? I was born in NZ, but grew up in Geelong, these days I live in Brunswick, Melbourne. I’ve been painting full time since 2003, before that I was working in video game development, and before that art school.
What are you currently working on? Right now I’m finishing off some work for the 3A cosmonaut figure, whilst gearing up for some larger scale work. I’m also in the process of re-building my painting technique, to give me greater flexibility.
could you talk through the process for one of your recently completed projects? (Heat Death?) Heat death took a long time. My process is very methodical. I start with a small preliminary painting, where I try to nail down the composition, colours and tones of the final painting. I usually rework these quite a lot, I try to do most of my experimenting (and mistakes) here. It’s not uncommon for me to burn through a few of these small paintings as I try to iron out the problems. Once I’m happy with the prelim I begin work on the larger painting. On Heath Death I began with a grisaille underpainting to try and establish the tones. Once this was dry I worked across the entire painting with an opaque color layer. This is where most of the work occurs. At the end of this layer I usually end up with a painting that has all (or most) of the forms and detail. Then I begin the glazing layers, modulating the colours and tones to bring the whole painting together, as well as adding subtleties to textures. I do as many glaze layers as are necessary to bring the painting together. As I mentioned before though, I’m rebuilding my technique, so some of this is changing.
Your new series of paintings which feature a weightless cosmonaut in urban settings, what was your thinking coming into this series? The cosmonaut paintings are a step away from my old method of painting, where every element was strictly controlled to enforce a particular narrative. I found that controlling the structure too tightly limited the stories that the viewer could bring to it. With these paintings I’m trying to leave the narrative ambiguous and open to interpretation, whilst juxtaposing enough disparate elements to make some sort of interpretation necessary. I’m keen to never give enough clues to block any potential explanation the viewer might bring. I want to spark questions, rather than answer them.
I see you’re Collaborating with Ashley Wood on a cosmonaut figure for his 3A toys, how did this come about? Ash and I have been friends for quite a while, and the possibility of doing the figure came up. His toy company, 3A does fantastic detailed work, so it would have been hard to say no!
You’re also quite involved in comics, How did you come about illustrating for the comic Doomed? Again, this came about through my friendship with Ash.
What do you hope the viewer will take away from your paintings? I don’t mind what they get from them. I have certain feelings that I’m trying to capture in the paintings, and hopefully they pass on to at least a few of the people who view them, but any sort of transmission of this nature is muddy and imprecise at the best of times. Everyone brings their own baggage and you can’t control for that, so I just try to make an image that will create a spark that the viewer can take and make his or her own.
What have been the highlights in your art related career to-date? It’s all about trying to paint well enough for me, I guess the highlights are when I get at least a bit of a painting good enough, it doesn’t happen too often, but it’s nice when it does.
What can we expect to see from you in the future? More paintings! Hopefully always better paintings!
Rockwell Group, in collaboration with Jones + Kroloff, designed “Hall of Fragments,” the entrance installation to “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building,” the main exhibition for the 2008 11th annual Venice Architecture Biennale. Passage through the installation disengages visitors from the bricks and mortar of Venice and connects them to the alternative world of “Architecture Beyond Building” through a immersive and interactive environment constructed from iconic films.
All images courtesy of Chris Jordan unless otherwise noted.
Like a magician, Seattle-based artist Chris Jordan first conceals everyday objects like cans, tooth picks and paper cups, just to throw them in our face when an image is viewed in detail. In an interview with Environmental Graffiti, the photographic artist talks about the inspiration for his mind-boggling artworks, viewers’ reactions to them and works in the pipeline.
Viewers who are familiar with Chris Jordan’s work will remember their reaction to his images as much as the photographic images themselves. For those new to his work, let’s simulate what visitors to one of his exhibitions experience by looking at a full view of one of his images and then slowly zooming in.
Here’s his 2007 work “Cans Seurat,” part of the “Running the Numbers” exhibition:
At first glance, it looks like fainter, yet perfect remake of Georges-Pierre Seurat’s famous painting “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”
Zooming in, one can make out that the image is made up thousands of smaller images:
A final zoom-in reveals that the smaller images are actually aluminum cans in different colours. The image title reads: “Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.”
Unlike the Magic Eye images that were a craze in the ‘90s, viewers of Jordan’s images don’t set out looking for the hidden image in the picture; they’re hit by it quite unpreparedly. Let’s hear what the artist has to say about his images and the effect they have on viewers.
EG: You are taking ordinary objects and recycling them into art
, creating something beautiful at first glance, whose message kicks in later. Have visitors to your exhibitions commented on this “oh” effect?
Chris Jordan: It’s fun for me to go to exhibitions because there’s a double layer to my work. Seen from a distance, the images are like something else, maybe totally boring pieces of modern art. On closer view, the visitor has an almost unpleasant experience with the artwork. It’s almost a magic trick; inviting people to a conversation that they didn’t want to have in the first place. One visitor recently compared me to a “sleight-of-hands-magician” that makes people face up to a difficult truth, I quite liked that.
Another one of Jordan’s works “depicts 28,000 42-gallon barrels, the amount of oil consumed in the United States every two minutes (equal to the flow of a medium-sized river).”
“Oil Barrels” (2008):
“Oil Barrels” detail:
EG: Your new book, “Running the Numbers” [Prestel Publishing, 2009] is subtitled “An American Self-Portrait” – are you looking critically at yourself too?
Chris Jordan: Yes, the subtitle is meant self-reflectively in a collective and individual sense. A lot of my criticism comes from looking at the consumerism in my own life. Like many viewers of my art, I am also torn because one part of me wants to stay in denial, doesn’t want to know about my role in this environment; on the other hand, I want to know and participate; I want to fully live and do my part as well. As an artist, I want to draw people gently into this conversation by raising the right questions.
Here’s an example of Chris Jordan doing exactly that. The image “depicts 32,000 Barbies, equal to the number of elective breast augmentation surgeries performed monthly in the US in 2006.”
“Barbie Dolls” (2008):
A closer look…
and a detail:
EG: That’s probably why viewers of your work immediately relate to an image, they feel the personal connection, that the artist is one of them without lecturing with a raised finger. What inspired you to make consumerism your topic?
Chris Jordan: It’s been on my mind for a while and already came out in my series “Intolerable Beauty” [2003-2005] where I took photographs of American mass consumption. First though, I came to the topic by chance: I had photographed a pile of garbage and found it beautiful, because it was an exquisitely complex image with great colour. Then friends of mine who are active in consumerism commented on this aspect and this triggered further projects.
EG: How do you implement your projects? They must be incredibly time-consuming and challenging from a practical point of view, your recent work “Gyre,” for example, which is part of your new series “Running the Numbers II”?
Hokusai’s original, “Behind the Great Wave of Kanagawa”:
Chris Jordan: Each piece takes me about a few weeks. There’s digital trickery involved in all my pieces; there has to be, otherwise one project would take me a year. Instead of tens of thousands of individual pieces I use just a few hundred, which will be photographed over and over, and the image is then constructed digitally.
For “Gyre,” I got the plastic from the lab of a marine scientist. I had been interested in the Pacific Gyre for a while because I have friends who actively pursue the issue of plastic in the ocean. I started photographing the plastic pieces, thought about what to do with them, and then looked at different seascape paintings. Turner was among them but I liked Hokusai’s painting [“Behind the Great Wave of Kanagawa”] because of the hidden yin and yang symbol which also symbolises the power of the ocean and the smallness and lack of power of man. Also, the painting is similar to a map of the Pacific Gyre, which is located halfway between Japan and the U.S., the two main polluters of the ocean who need to come to a dialogue about the issue.
A closer look at Chris Jordan’s environmental interpretation:
Here’s a detail showing Mount Fuji made of plastic waste:
EG: Despite any “digital trickery,” there is still an incredible amount of work that goes into each of your artworks. Tell us which future works we can look forward to; what are you currently working on?
Chris Jordan: I’m working on another piece of the Gyre, plastic pollution really is one of my current topics. I’m also finishing up a piece on unwanted dogs and cats and the great number that are euthanised in the USA every day. This should be out in a few weeks.
And there’s also a project that my wife, who is a poet and who really gives me a great number of good ideas, and I want to do together but nothing is fixed yet. If all works out, we’d like to go to Midway Island later this year, in the middle of the Pacific, and do something about the albatross. These birds are dying because of plastic pollution; they’re feeding their offspring with pieces of plastic found in the ocean, and the young birds die tragically. My wife and I did a similar collaboration after Hurricane Katrina [“In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster,” 2005] where my wife contributed poems, which was a great success.
Looks like we have many more exciting and thought-provoking environmental projects to look forward to from Chris Jordan. Environmental Graffiti will keep you up-to-date!
With special thanks to Chris Jordan for devoting his time to this interview and for granting permission to use his images.
nude visions 150 years of body images in photography stadtmuseum munich - photography collection 27 may - 13 september 2009
the show spotlights the genre of nude photography. the munich city museum is for the first time presenting 220 original pictures on this theme from its photography collection, spanning the years from 1845 to 2005. in the course of six chapters, a multifaceted cultural history of nude photography is recounted. masters from the respective periods are brought together here – starting with photographs from the early 19th century inspired by sculpted and painted images which in turn drew on antique and renaissance models of the idealized human body. this period is followed by the symbolist art of the fin de siècle, in which the nude becomes a mirror of psychic moods and longings. naturist images come next, segueing into the heroic physical ideal of national socialism, the dream of the femme fatale, or the orient as motif for displaying nakedness. finally, we are treated to the abstract and surrealist experiments of the 20th century, accompanied by diverse scenarios in which the undressed body is shown in fashion and lifestyle photography. the male nude is also explored, as an expression of homoerotic emancipation in imagery.
the show starts with so-called “academies, plates used as models by artists like delacroix and courbet. yet, at the same time photographers already made pictures of the nude that had artistic ambitions. beginning in the 1870s, nude models were placed outside of the studio in the open air, typically in the mediterranean country-side of italy or north africa. using photography as tool, the late 19th-century “lebens reform-bewegung” (life reform movement) in germany celebrated the naked body’s naturalness. around 1900, pictorialist photographers aimed at elevating the nude to an artistic subject.
in the realm of the nude, artistic photography of the 1920s and 1930s found new compositional solutions by employing multiple exposures, solarization, collage techniques and extreme chiaroscuro contrasts and perspectives. the image of the naked body was thus distorted, dematerialized, x-rayed and fragmented. such experiments continued after world war II, yet a parallel development existed in straight photography, with its clear and natural depictions of the nude. body art and performance artists of the 1970s declared the immediacy of their own physical experiences as a political imperative. the flood of pictures and easy access to the private and intimate, defines nude photography of the 1990s. the exhibition’s section on glamour photography starts with works from the early 20th century, when new ideals of stardom were developed in the hollywood studios. during the 1960s the glamorous nude becomes fully established in advertising photography. in contrast to the female nude, the male nude is not as established in the collective mind. during the 19th century, the male nude was legitimized as a model in art academies, and since the early 20th century in the context of bodybuilding. the pictorialists around 1900 had men pose for pictures with mythological associations. the homosexual emancipation that occurred during the weimar republic and continued in the 1960s, witnessed a growing number of gay artists who published an ever increasing range of male nudes.